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These Laughing Bones

the sailor won't keep his hands in his pockets

won't write his letters in red
bad luck is like bad news
with no end to how it spreads

the sailor killed a wren on new year's day
he nailed his right boot to the mast
he never whistles on board they say
but wakes each morning with his flask

beneath the roots of the ocean
under the shade of the sea
gather these laughing bones
and darling, beg mercy for me
above the branches of clouds
atop the crown of the sky
let your tears fall
and join the waves where i lie

good luck is offered to the sailor
with a fist he gives it back
true luck it flies from the prayer
blood the only thing that can bring it back
a broken promise, a broken man,
a cooper's ax, a guilty hand,
a tall drink, a head slammed,
a rivet joined to seal the damned


the captain throws a plant from the wheelhouse
"do you want us to wreck?
plants seek the earth just as we do.
bring up some wine to pour on deck."
but there's something foul in the mixture

the barrel's opened wide
there's the sailor at the bottom
there's the sailor going over the side


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